View Full Version : So how did the republicans develop a powerful grassroots organization

08-19-2009, 01:19 AM

Juche (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:01 PM
Original message
So how did the republicans develop a powerful grassroots organization
Edited on Tue Aug-18-09 11:02 PM by Juche
The GOP didn't manage to control dialogue in this country (government is bad, taxes are bad, militarism is good, etc) or manage to stand for issues that only 20% of the public support (but still win elections) by accident. So I'm wondering what the history is of movement conservatism and how it managed to build into such a powerful force despite being so undemocratic and unpopular in its issue stances (abolishing medicare and social security, no abortions ever, tax cuts on the rich, endless wars, etc).

I would assume dialogue is part of it, being able to frame your opinions in such a way that they convey the values and morals people agree with while supporting your agenda. George Lakoff, Paul Waldman and Thom Hartmann are good at this. In fact Lakoff said back in 2004 (that time period) that Obama was really gifted at this, and Howard Dean is a huge fan of Lakoff's work. Now Obama is the president and Dean was chair of the DNC and is now in a leadership role in grassroots orgs. Ronald Reagan was a great communicator for movement conservative values (independence, self reliance, reciprocation) but Obama is a great communicator for progressive values (community, justice, fairness). I think Michael Moore did a great job with Sicko of promoting progressive values (justice, fairness, etc) in support of progressive agendas (HR676).

Then there are media outlets to get our message across. MSNBC has veered left lately, but now with the internet there is an efficient way to disseminate talking points, arguments and rebuttals. Media matters, message forums, updates via email or text message. They can ensure there are millions of progressive who can disable right wing talking points and promote left wing talking points and explanations for policy issues out there whenever they come up at work or at home in discussions with others.

Then there are grassroots orgs like moveon, DFA, cfc, etc. that encourage members to volunteer, spread the word. The movement conservatives had evangelical christians to do the gruntwork, progressives have the netroots and unions.

Boycotts seem to work to hold movement conservatives who cross the line to account. Media matters gives you a list of who to call to complain after they put up a video or audio file. So that can be used to encourage a more moderate media. The right wing does the same thing, claiming the media is 'liberal' and boycotting them.

Primaries from the left would also intimidate politicians to move to the left. Running ads in their home districts and primaries are useful. I once heard that several republicans wanted to vote for the stimulus but didn't because they feared a primary from the right. So using primaries from the left is a powerful tool.

Ties with wealthy organizations also is important. Labor unions, wealthy liberals and the netroots can do what corporations and wealthy conservatives did for the movement conservatives, and fund the movement.

Anyway, I'm curious if anyone knows how the movement conservatives went from being a fringe group in American politics to a powerful political force, what all factors played a role int his and how the progressives can model that method to do the same. Progressives, unlike movement conservatives, are generally pro democracy and hold views that hte majority of americans agree with. So it should be easier in some ways.

It seems there are probably dozens of small things (disseminating opinions to the grassroots, effective communicators in politics and the media to frame issues, good funding, primaries, boycotts, grassroots volunteers, etc) that can all play a role in shifting the attitudes and politics of a country. Has anyone outlined them all and explained how movement conservatives and progressives can use them to be effective at promoting their goals? If so, if anyone has the name of a book like that I'd love to read it.

grantcart (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. It was largely based on co-opting large networks of independent conservative churches

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Turbineguy (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Which are tax payer subsidized.
They must have gotten the idea from Felix Dzerzhinsky. He had his entire secret service operation paid for by the enemies of the Bolsheviks.
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Juche (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That is part of it
But sadly we live in a country where many people probably believe private is better than public, or that low taxes are always a good thing. That can't be explained solely by coopting churches. You have to know how to influence people with your message, and have top down and bottom up ways to spread that message to get the majority of the public to agree with you on an issue like that.
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opihimoimoi (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. They found a way to easily FOOL People

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notesdev (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. Actually they didn't
The GOP as a party did its damn best to kill off its grassroots; they may call themselves "republican" but what they really are are "aristocratic". The grassroots that you see is trying to overthrow the party leadership. It built itself out of necessity, having no other outlet for its desires. By trying to bottle it up, the leadership inadvertently helped to concentrate it.

Here's video of how one of the most conservative Reps. in the GOP got received earlier this year by a conservative crowd in South Carolina:


baldguy (1000+ posts) Tue Aug-18-09 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
6. There is no powerful Republican grassroots organizzation.
What they DO have is a large, stupid herd of sheep - with a few dogs at the fringes to keep them afraid & move them in the desired direction. It's all done with plenty of corporate money & plenty of RW propaganda. There's nothing "grassroots" about it.
Wait a minute we are no threat they are in power!

Dan D. Doty
08-19-2009, 09:32 AM
Once again someone tries to analyze something and the Moonbats just fall back on the stupid drama playing in their head. :rolleyes:

Emotion displaces reason, and thought is shoved aside for hatefilled rants.

Maybe its just anything outside the echo chamber is just too alien for them to understand.

08-19-2009, 11:12 AM
You awoke a sleeping giant, plain and simple. We are the silent majority that got sick of your stupid shit and now are taking to the streets like you did while Bush was in office.

Dan D. Doty
08-19-2009, 11:30 AM
You awoke a sleeping giant, plain and simple. We are the silent majority that got sick of your stupid shit and now are taking to the streets like you did while Bush was in office.

Bad thing is they can't seem to get their heads around what's going on ( protests, Tea Parties, THs).

Fore too many years they seem to have gotten this stupid notion that only they could protest; now that they are the target of the public displeasure, they're having a melt down and want to use every draconion idea against people who express their grievences.

Just like Joe The Plummer, Moonbats want to destroy the life of everyone dares speak up at any of these gatherings.

Is this the Moonbats vision of America?

Do we have to watch what we say, less Big Brother comes kicking in our door in the middle of the night?